20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, Indiana 47639
Today the story of Hercules engine number 148306 begins. It is a
1? HP model E. It was acquired in a recent trade. This story and
another or two to follow will trace the refurbishing of this engine
to running condition. A quick inspection revealed several missing
parts. The M Webster magneto was missing, but I knew that in
advance and would be able to provide one from my collection of
parts. There was no crank guard, but one bolt to hold it on was
there. The muffler was cracked but repairable; however, it did not
appear to be the original. There was no oilier or oilier pipe, but
those things are in my inventory. The igniter bracket had been
broken and rewelded. Luckily, whoever welded it got it together
correctly and made a nice cast iron weld.
From there I begin to look for points of wear. The valves fit in
the guides reasonably well and it appeared that the guides had been
reamed and oversized stemmed valves had been used as replacements.
The valve springs looked good and proper. The rocker arm pin fit
well, but the tip where it touched the exhaust valve had a pit worn
into it. The side rod was somewhat loose in the guide in the
governor bracket. The governor shaft was acceptable, but the brass
wear washer between the governor gear and the bracket was gone. All
gears appear to be useable, but the timing gear shaft needs to be
The cylinder bore feels smooth and there is little play in the
wrist pin or the rings in their lands. The hope now is that the
cylinder is still round enough for new rings to seat well. The rod
and main bearings appear to be okay. By feeling underneath, the
bottom of the fuel tank seems to be smooth and without rust or
holes. It has a pulley, but it is a large one and it is off type
for a Hercules.
The igniter bracket (303M1) seemed to be in good shape with good
points and a good retard-advance mechanism. The igniter trip finger
and bracket also appear to be useable as is.
There is a good bit of original paint, but not enough to make a
decent looking original, but the decision about what to do about
that will come later.
Now, here is a list of parts that are needed:
Magneto – in stock
Oiler – in stock
Oiler pipe and coupling – need to make
Governor shaft washer -will make
Timing gear shaft -will make from 5/8 inch
Piston rings -will order
Igniter moveable electrode spring -will make from stock
Crank guard -will order
Grease cups -from stock
Pulley -from stock
Governor spindle pin – will make from ? inch carriage bolt
Side rod spring -spring
There will likely be a few other unknown miscellaneous parts and
pieces needed as the project continues. You may wonder about all
those in-stock parts. Having been a collector for 28 years now, a
lot of parts and pieces have been accumulated during those years.
Some were free, some were bought at low prices, some were traded
for and some were bought at the current market. To get all these
parts at current prices, it would come to nearly $300. The cost of
Redi-strip or sand blasting plus necessary painting supplies could
easily add another $60. If a cart is desired, add that on too. I
make my carts using cast 8, 10 or 12 inch wheels bought here and
there for $10 each or less. The rest of the cart parts come from
the scrap iron pile and the native lumber pile. Add to this the
priceless value of your time and effort and almost any engine
becomes expensive. Often times it is cheaper to find and buy a
refurbished engine than to fix one up yourself, but be sure that
the ‘refurbished’ engine doesn’t need a lot of repairs.
A good paint job can fool you and lead you to believe that all has
been properly repaired.
An interesting thing happened when I removed the valves and
springs from the engine head. I laid the disassembled parts on the
work bench and went on to other things. The next day one of the
valves disappeared and without a trace so far. I have had many
tools lie in hiding under my nose, but never a valve. Them gremlins
are at work again. Story to be continued.